The only 20-minute treadmill workout you need to build muscle and cardio fitness above 50

This 20-minute treadmill cardio workout will raise your heart rate and strengthen your entire body.

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Prioritizing fitness as we age is important for promoting longevity, and exercising just 20 minutes on the treadmill most days of the week is an excellent way to help you maintain good health and improve your cardiovascular health. achieve fitness goals.

In fact, physical activity guidelines for Americans recommend getting at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise per week.

And there’s a good reason for this: Your cognition declines with age, but keeping an exercise routine and engaging your mind in brain games can help you stay sharp. According to a July 2018 review in the ‚ÄčInternational Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical ActivityPhysical activity programs for older adults that include cognitive exercises may help improve cognitive health, which declines with age.

To help you keep up with your cardio, try this 20-minute treadmill cardio workout, which includes some inclines and upper-body exercises with dumbbells.

The inclines will activate your posterior chain (muscles in the back of your body) and strengthen your lower body, as well as increase your heart rate for your cardiovascular work. The mid-workout dumbbell exercises are unilateral (one-sided) to increase your upper body strength and coordination.

Remember to bring the treadmill to a complete stop before doing the floor exercises.

20 minute cardio and strength training on the treadmill

  1. Begin by warming up on the treadmill at a 1 percent incline for 5 minutes during a brisk walk (about 3 mph for beginners and 4 mph for moderate).
  2. For the next 2 minutes, take the incline to 3 percent. If you are walking, increase the speed to somewhere between 3.5 and 4.5 mph. If you prefer to jog, increase the speed to somewhere between 4.5 and 5.5 mph. This should feel challenging.
  3. Stop the treadmill and return to the floor safely. Do 10 reps of each of the five upper body strength exercises below, then return safely to the treadmill.
  4. For the next 2 minutes, take the incline to 4 percent. Return to the speed you used for the last lap, or add a little more speed if you want more of a challenge.
  5. Stop the treadmill and return to the floor safely. Do 10 reps for each of the five upper body strength exercises, then return safely to the treadmill.
  6. For the next 2 minutes, take the incline to 5 percent. Return to the speed you used in the previous round, or increase your speed if you want more of a challenge.
  7. Slow down for the next three minutes and bring it back to your brisk walking speed with a 1 percent incline.

Tip

Use your arms to help you through the slopes as much as possible. Drive your elbows straight back at 90-degree angles. Hold onto the rails for support when you need it.

If you’re holding onto the rails for support, lean forward slightly from your waist to take advantage of walking up an incline. Leaning back will bring your back into an upright position, decreasing the strength training that takes place by adding the incline.

Always listen to your body with any cardio program. You want to feel challenged, but always in control. You can use a heart rate monitor or a scale such as perceived exertion (RPE) to determine your efforts.

1 percent incline at 3 to 4 mph

5 minutes

3 percent incline at 3.5 to 4.5 mph (walking) or 4.5 to 5.5 (jogging)

2 minutes

Get off the treadmill and do the floor exercises below

10 reps per move

4 percent incline at 3.5 to 4.5 mph (walking) or 4.5 to 5.5 (jogging)

2 minutes

Get off the treadmill and do the floor exercises below

10 reps per move

5 percent incline at 3.5 to 4.5 mph (walking) or 4.5 to 5.5 (jogging)

2 minutes

1 percent incline at 3 to 4 mph

3 minutes

5 strength exercises to do off the treadmill halfway through your workout

As you get older, it also becomes increasingly important to include unilateral (one-sided) exercises in your fitness program. Working on one side of your body at a time promotes core strength while working on your balance and coordination.

Perform these exercises as part of steps 3 and 5 above.

1. Alternating Biceps Curl

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sets

2

Representatives

10

Body part

weapons

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hold a dumbbell in each hand.
  2. Keeping your body still, bend your right elbow and bring the dumbbell to your right shoulder.
  3. Lower your right arm back to your side. This is 1 repetition.
  4. Repeat with your left arm.
  5. Continue alternating until you have completed a total of 10 reps.

Tip

Engage your core as you work. The weight imbalance with each alternating curl will challenge you to keep your body in a straight line. This is where stability and coordination come into play.

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sets

2

Representatives

10

Body part

Chest

  1. Lie on your back with your feet flat on the floor and knees bent.
  2. Hold a dumbbell in each hand in front of your chest with your elbows bent and touching the floor.
  3. Push your right arm up toward the ceiling.
  4. Bend your right elbow and return your arm to the starting position. This is 1 repetition.
  5. Repeat with your left arm.
  6. Continue alternating until you have completed a total of 10 reps.

Tip

Keep your elbows on the floor about 45 degrees from your shoulders to avoid extra pressure on your shoulder joints. As you press the barbell above your chest, brace your core and push your back into the floor to lift the weight.

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sets

2

Representatives

10

Body part

abs

  1. Start on all fours with your wrists directly under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Your back should be flat.
  2. With control, simultaneously lift your right arm and your left leg until they are parallel to the floor.
  3. Return your hand and knee to the floor. This is 1 repetition.
  4. Repeat with your left arm and right leg.
  5. Continue alternating until you have completed a total of 10 reps.

Tip

Your core involvement in this exercise comes from focusing on balancing on your supporting arm and leg.

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sets

2

Representatives

10

Body part

Back

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hold a dumbbell in each hand.
  2. Bend your knees slightly and push your hips back, creating a hinge in your hips until your back is flat.
  3. With your arms extended and your palms facing each other, push your right arm up by squeezing your shoulder blade.
  4. Return to the starting position. This is 1 repetition
  5. Repeat with your left arm.
  6. Continue alternating until you have completed a total of 10 reps.

Tip

Tighten your core as you push your elbow back. Your body will naturally want to twist, but keeping a tight core will help prevent that.

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sets

2

Representatives

10

Body part

shoulders

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hold a dumbbell in each hand on your shoulders, palms facing forward.
  2. Press your right arm overhead until your biceps are by your ears, then return to the starting position. This is 1 repetition.
  3. Repeat on the left.
  4. Continue alternating until you have completed a total of 10 reps.

Tip

Tighten your core to avoid putting pressure on your lower back and avoid leaning as you press the weight overhead.

More than 50? Here are some other workouts to try

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